Congratulations to Georgia Military College Prep’s Odyssey of the Mind team for placing first in the nation and second in the world at the World Finals at Iowa State University, May 23-26. More than 800 teams from 33 states and 15 countries shared their ideas and work in hopes of bringing home a trophy. Additionally, the team earned the most prestigious Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award for the engineering and design of the vehicle's steering mechanism. “This award represents the essence of the Odyssey of the Mind. It is presented to teams or individuals who exhibit exceptional creativity, either through some aspect of their problem solution, or an extraordinary idea beyond the problem solution. A successful problem solution is not a criterion for winning the award; rather, the award is a way to acknowledge and encourage creative thinking and risk-taking.” (Wikipedia) The judges awarded GMC with the Ranatra Fusca Award because “they showed exceptional creativity and risk-taking in creating an innovative, hands-free steering system. Using only the slightest movements of his head the driver created electrical connections to drive the vehicle in any direction using an elegant system of helmet-activated switches. This allowed the driver the freedom to use his hands to affect the emotional changes on the vehicle while steering simultaneously. The judges were blown away by their innovative solution to allow the team to solve multiple aspects of the problem at the same time.”
Odyssey of the Mind, an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities, provides an avenue for allowing students to strengthen critical skills in all of these areas. Teams of students apply their creativity to solving problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Each team then presents their solution in the form of an 8-minute skit.
GMC’s problem “Ooh-Motional Vehicle” required the team to design, build, and drive a vehicle that travels a course where it must encounter three different situations. The vehicle had to display a different human emotion for each encounter and one that caused it to travel in reverse. The team also had to create a theme for the presentation that incorporates the vehicle and the different emotions. The emphases were on the technical risk-taking and creativity of the vehicle's engineering for travel and change of emotional appearance. The team members wrote the script, blocked their scenes, composed songs, choreographed a dance, designed and built all stage-sets, props and costumes. In addition, they had to keep within a tight budget, monitoring their spending along the way.
The vehicle was constructed with two different propulsion systems. The first propulsion was indirect human power—a rowing chair mechanism linked to a chain and wheel of a bike. Rubber tubing allowed the bike chain to reset itself when the rowing chair was pulled into forward position. When pushed backward, the chair pulled a string through a pulley system, pulling the chain to rotate the bike wheel. The second propulsion system allowed the vehicle to go in reverse. Its battery-powered drill motor turned a roller, turning the bike wheel in the forward direction. The bike wheel sits on top of two rolling pins that spin, converting the forward motion into reverse motion, causing the vehicle to go backwards. The drill is activated via a bike-brake mechanism mounted around its trigger.
Pictured (left to right): GMC’s Odyssey of the Mind Team - National Champions and Second in the World! MAJ Clay McElheny (Coach), Jostin Grimes, Sarah Poole, Sam Micklus (started the Odyssey of the Mind program), Elliot Fairbrass, Liam Fairbrass, Taylore Brooks, Haley Spires, Kris Irvin, MAJ Emily Fairbrass (Coach). (Missing from photo: Coach Mark Fairbrass)